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My letter urging Hugo Swire to act over non stun slaughter trade deal with Saudi Arabia

Monday, 20 August 2018 4 Comments by Claire

Please see my email below to Hugo Swire as a result of this story…..

I am writing to express my serious concern at the above story.

Last autumn, ministers voted through a downgrading of animal welfare legislation post Brexit. Your government labelled it fake news, but the reality was that the new rules shifted the responsibility for animal welfare away from the British state post Brexit.

I lodged a motion at Devon County Council calling on the government to put that right, supporting calls by the British Veterinary Association.

Michael Gove pledged to close any loophole that caused animal suffering.

This deal shows that no such loopholes or pledges have been honoured by your government. Once again, the warm words and promises have not been met with the necessary action.

In this instance the suffering to our animals that will be caused for the sake of a trade deal with a murderous ultra authoritarian regime such as Saudi Arabia, will be immense.

The British government has a unassailable and moral responsibility to ensure that its animals that are destined for being killed for human consumption are cared for properly and killed as humanely as possible.

This deal is a gross dereliction of that responsibility and is a moral outrage.

I imagine that this news will horrify people all over the country. It is your responsibility as East Devon’s MP to act swiftly and make known your opposition to the deal.

We are relying on you and your colleagues to prevent this deal from taking place and any others like it.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Best wishes


1. At 01:29 pm on 21th Aug Paul F wrote:

More to the point, if they can’t be trusted over something relatively minor (by comparison to other Brexit issues), how can the Government be trusted over something important (but divisive) like Brexit deal or trade deals?

2. At 04:18 pm on 22th Aug Joan Kelly wrote:

I am horrified if this is true, or could it be just another scaremongering article by the Remainers?. I am a vegetarian as I won’t pander to the greedy farmers making money from innocent animals.

3. At 10:25 pm on 22th Aug Paul F wrote:

Dear Joan

I am sorry that you feel so cynical about the state of Brexit negotiations that you think that every warning about economic downturns or difficulties in maintaining import logistics for e.g. food or medicines are just scaremongering. I know it can be difficult in telling what news is true these days, with politicians (and members of the public too) from both sides of Brexit saying whatever they like in order to persuade people regardless of whether it is true or not.

Fortunately we don’t have to rely only on statements made by Remainers or Leavers. There have now been a lot of assessments made by people who are not taking political sides but are instead simply wanting to ensure that their companies or public services continue operating and providing jobs and goods and services following Brexit.

We have all see food prices increase since the referendum due to the value of the pound plummeting from 1.35€ to 1.12€ making all imported foods c. 20% more expensive. If we don’t retain access to the Single Market and stay in a customs union, we should expect to see the value of the pound drop still further.

There is some talk about tariffs being imposed if we don’t stay in the Customs Union, but I am unclear whether WTO tariffs of 12.7% on food would be mandatory to be imposed by the UK Government on food imports even if they are imposed by the EU on our food exports. But if they are mandatory, then imported foods will cost 12.7% more.

If we look at the logistics of importing foods, again the UK government could waive customs checks for foods if it wanted to, however I think it unlikely that the EU would waive their customs checks on the lorries as they return to the EU. This will inevitably result in lorries queuing at ports, and that will both reduce the number of lorries available for imports, and push up shipping costs. When there is a shortage of food in the shops, we should expect the law of supply and demand to kick in, and food prices to rise due to scarcity value.

Worse still a shortage of food and medicine would be likely to result in civil unrest i.e. rioting, and the Government has already been briefing both the police and the armed services about maintaining law and order.

Ah - I hear you say - what about using the £350m a week that we won’t be paying to the EU in order to sort this out? Unfortunately this was always a lie - firstly we don’t pay £350m a week to the EU - and leaving aside that this non-existent £350m a week has now already been promised several times over to services desperate for increased funding, it is now widely accepted that any money the government does stop paying to the EU will be swallowed up by much larger reductions in tax receipts. There is no Brexit-Dividend and there never was - this was simply one of the HUGE LIES used to persuade the electorate that Brexit would be economically good (rather than a disaster) - indeed the Leave campaigns knew it was a lie, but they continued to use it nevertheless.

This is the biggest decision that this country has made since ... well I don’t know how long - but it is certainly a bigger more sudden and more risky decision than joining the Common Market in the 1970s. And if a decision to leave is a risky one, a decision to leave without a lengthy transition period will be hundreds or thousands of times more risky. As a Programme / Project Manager with 25 years experience I can honestly say that what is happening with Brexit is by far the least competent and most risky situation I could possibly imagine - even if the medium-term consequences are beneficial (which is very debatable), the risks in the short-term due to disastrous negotiating and insufficient time to prepare (esp. when we still don’t know what to prepare for) and possibly a crashing-out of the EU without a deal are just humongous.

Unfortunately, we are now so used to all the politicians telling lies that we are prepared to believe that everyone else is telling lies too - especially when it is the politicians telling us that it any independent analysis is just “scaremongering by Remainers” and that we should effectively put our fingers in our ears and blank them out.

As for what Hugo is likely to do, given his close connections with Saudi Arabia, it would not surprise me if he was to become actively involved in persuading the government to relax animal welfare standards in order to make a trade deal. After all, when we leave the EU and are able to negotiate trade deals, we are going to be so desperate to make some that we will make all sorts of concessions in order to make them happen. IMO we should expect EVERY TRADE DEAL to include agreements to lower our own standards to match those of the other countries. So expect Chlorinated Chicken, and intense factory farming of animals and less humane slaughter standards.

Of course, you could call me a “scaremongering Remainer” and put your fingers in your ears and blank me out too, but that won’t change the realities of the situation - it will just give you a very big shock when you finally wake up and realise that all the predictions were in fact not “scaremongering Remainers” but instead were worried and concerned citizens making all too accurate analyses of what was going to happen. But by then it will be simply too late - we will be unable to turn back the clock and fix it.

So my advice to you is that, if you want to know what is going to happen after Brexit, then stop listening to anything that any politician says, and start listening to people in the NHS and the food industries and the car manufacturers and the Bank of England all of whom are simply trying to warn us about what is likely to happen.


Paul F

4. At 08:59 am on 27th Aug Paul F wrote:

Dear Joan

Read this:

Then start to worry. Because IMO food shortages and significant inflation will cause rioting.

Now read this:

IMO a legal vacuum in: EU Citizen rights will lead to protest marches by EU citizens; criminals arrested under European arrest warrant will be released to offend again or escape justice; Irish border will result in civil war in Northern Ireland.

And whilst the police are busy dealing with the riots and the legal vacuum, ordinary criminals will have a field day.

Eventually we will have curfews and perhaps even marshal law. And perhaps food rationing.

And all because a handful of extremist Brexit fanatics have deliberately hijacked democracy and scuppered any sensible negotiations.

Is this what you voted for in the referendum?

Paul F

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